February 27, 2018

2018 The Dirt Nitro Challenge – Report

Every year, the best nitro 1/8th scale racers make the trip to the Fear Farm to participate in the biggest 1/8th scale race in the world, The Dirt Nitro Challenge. With over 750 entries for just the 1/8th scale side of the event, the best of the best battle it out over five intense days to set up for the exciting 45-minute A-main events in Nitro Truggy and Buggy and a single 10-minute thriller in E-Buggy. With so many cars on the track plus the hot, dry Phoenix Arizona sun beating on the track for the majority of the day, it’s hard to keep the track consistent and smooth for the entire event. Knowing that beforehand, Joey Christensen and The Dirt crew leave the track as is creating a track surface that evolves and gets more challenging as the event goes deeper into the program. This year, the layout was fantastic. Many racers of all skill level praised the layout for its wonderful flow and challenging obstacles that seamlessly intertwined into the next. Mix in the changing track conditions, getting around at full speed was not easy by any means – hence the name The Dirt Nitro Challenge and why the race is so popular among racers.

Pro Truggy was a fairytale weekend for the newly announced Team Associated RC8T3.1 as both Ryan Cavalieri and Spencer Rivkin were able to put it on the podium going 1st and 2nd with amazing drives by AE’s top two aces. Unfortunately for Mugen’s Ryan Maifield, a collision exiting pit lane caused Maifield to drop nearly ten seconds to the leaders that he wasn’t able to get back on the track. Towards the end of the race, one could feel that Ryan Cavalieri only got stronger as the race went closer to the 45-minute mark and by the end, won with 14 seconds in his pocket. Spencer Rivkin went on to finish 2nd and Maifield retained the 3rd spot on the podium.

In Pro E-Buggy it was a perfect weekend for the reigning Pro E-Buggy champion, Mugen’s Ryan Maifield, as he was able to take the TQ and win to repeat his efforts from last year. Ryan was able to build a gap from his competition early in the race giving him the luxury to race at his own pace. Ryan was able to finish the intense 10 minutes with over a 3-second cushion to Tekno’s Joe Bornhorst. Mugen’s Robert Battle put on a late race charge to challenge Bornhorst for 2nd, but came just short and .9 seconds back to finish in 3rd.

Perhaps one of the greatest 1/8th Pro Nitro Buggy races of all time, the 45-minute buggy main had it all. From multiple lead changes, pit stop strategies, exciting wheel to wheel racing with clean passes, crashes, and exhilarating racing until the final corner, the main event had it all. Check out the video below to catch all the action as words wouldn’t do it justice. Congratulations to HB Racing’s David Ronnefalk on his amazing performance that nearly matched his World Championship win in Vegas nearly two years ago. Mugen’s Robert Battle nearly pulled off an amazing comeback win, but fell just short and finished 2nd. Xray’s Ty Tessman also drove a fantastic race mixing it up until the very end to finish 3rd overall.

Expert Nitro Buggy saw a gutsy performance from Finland’s rising star, Max Mort. Having earned the TQ, the pressure was on especially after an early mistake by the JQRacing driver dropping him back to 4th. Unshaken, Max kept his cool and started to work his way back towards the front delivering consistent fast laps. Eventually, Max retook the lead and the rest was history. Crossing the line to take the win, Max was cheered on by his teammates on a job well done. HB Racing’s young gun, Camden Lime put in a great drive to finish 2nd along with his teammate Cole Jenson, to finish 3rd.

Serpent’s Paul Ciccarello would once again make the podium in another fantastic race, but this time in the 40+ Nitro class. Paul is always a threat in the 40+ classes and was able to take the win by over eleven seconds by the end of a hard-fought 30-minute main. HB Racing’s Brian Givens went on to finish 2nd and TLR’s Don Vinkemulder 3rd on the podium.

Jimbo Kvidera delivered when he needed it most with a fantastic win in the 40+ Truggy class by over 40+ seconds. Great job by Jimbo on taking the win with Jose Alvarado placing 2nd and RD, Kenny Brosh, 3rd on the podium.

It was a 2-car battle for the win in the 40+ E-Buggy class with Serpent’s Paul Ciccarello and Mugen’s Casey Peck. The two would dice it out for the lead early in the 10-minute race, but by the halfway point, Paul would take over and hold onto the lead by the narrowest of margins. It was a crazy close finish with Paul crossing the line in 1st by just .6 seconds over Peck. TLR’s Lance Hubbard finished 3rd overall.

Source: JConcepts [jconcepts.net]


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